Trifold Leather Wallet with Red Stitching

What to Look For in a Quality Trifold Wallet

UPDATED: 4/19/2022 with FAQ questions at the end of the article.

Are you in the market for a new trifold wallet?


Trifold wallets are the opposite of slimmed-down carry. These wallets are absolute UNITS when it comes to wallets. Think of the George Castanza wallet, a Trifold would be an upgrade for George.


A good trifold wallet should carry everything you need: cash, receipts, and all your cards. When it comes to a Trifold wallet, people who want one carry a LOT.

Brown Leather Trifold Wallet

Cash, business cards, credit/debit cards, and a driver’s license all need a home when you're out and about. You can also use it to carry coins, bills, keys, and even medication.


For people who carry a lot, it makes sense to carry a quality trifold wallet. Trifold wallets have three sections and fold twice into a compact size.


Three sections provide ample storage to carry cash, cards, receipts, and other nicknacks. 

Whenever I talk about wallets, take it with a grain of salt. We sell them (duh!) So a far warning: I'm going to harp on about all the stuff that we do well. Stuff that I value.


Anytime you go out and buy a wallet, you should surround yourself with quality. It's important to know how to judge the quality of a leather trifold. The adage "buy cheap, buy twice" will be the common theme here.


Full disclaimer: my job is to sell wallets but I also want to educate. 


If you don't buy a wallet here, at least you know what to look for. That's important to me. 


In a world filled with disposable goods; companies that craft durable goods should be rewarded for it.


Here's what you should look for when shopping for a high-quality leather trifold wallet.

The Material It’s Made From

Right away, you need to consider what kind of material you want. There are a million wallets out there made from nylon, cloth, carbon fiber, and my favorite: leather. (surprise surprise)


Leather is the only one on my list that will get better with age (hello patina!) but is also the most durable.


A good leather trifold wallet will last decades if cared for. 


But be aware, not all leather is equal in quality. These are the main types of leather on the used to make wallets (in order of quality)

  • Full-Grain
  • Top Grain
  • Split Grain (also known as Genuine Leather)
English Tan Trifold Leather Wallet

Types of Leather 

Let’s take a quick look at the different types of leather commonly used for trifold wallets:

Type of Leather Characteristics
Full-grain leather
  • Typically full of natural imperfections that give it a unique appearance
  • The highest quality leather as it's incredibly strong and durable
  • Ages beautifully as it develops the much-sought-after patina
Top-grain leather
  • Made from buffing or sanding away the imperfections in full-grain leather
  • Second-highest quality leather whose imperfections have been stripped off for a uniform look
  • Develops patina, just like full-grain
Split-Grain (Genuine leather)
  • Obtained from the layers beneath the full-grain layer
  • The lowest quality when it comes to real leather
  • Not as strong, durable, or beautiful as full-grain or top-grain leather.
  • Usually cheaper than the other types of leather

Trifold Wallet Storage Capacity

A trifold wallet is all about giving you the most storage capacity and efficiency. It’s the ideal wallet for someone who doesn't want to compromise with what they carry.


A good trifold should hold the kitchen sink. All your essential cards, cash, bills, and coins—while still fitting into your pocket. 


But are trifold wallets efficient?


Consider this: since you have to fold a trifold wallet twice, it ends up looking thicker than a bifold wallet. Yet, depending on the design, it may take up less pocket space than a bifold.


While a bifold wallet can hold 4–6 cards, a standard trifold wallet can pack about 6–10 cards and your ID.


Trifold wallets come standard with a billfold for cash and receipts. And usually spacious enough to keep all your bills straight and neat.


Take the Popov Leather Trifold wallet for example.


We design our trifolds to be both spacious and compact. They're perfect for travel when you need to carry several denominations of cash and quick access to different cards and IDs.


Here are the specs on our Trifolds:

  • Each trifold wallet has 4 secure card slots and an ID window that can fit at least 2 cards in each pocket. We designed these slots for easy access.
  • Wide enough billfold to stack up to 20 bills plus space for receipts and notes.
  • The cash slot can hold any foreign currency.
  • The ID slot flips open and tucks away when you don’t need it.
  • The wallet measures 3.45" x 4.25" x 0.75" when closed. But unfolded, the wallet spans 9.8" wide.
Natural Trifold Leather Wallet

The Quality of Its Stitching

Saddle Stitching a Popov Leather Wallet
Saddle Stitching a Brown Trifold Wallet

When it comes to selecting a quality trifold wallet, the devil is in the details.


One detail you should pay attention to is stitching. I always recommend choosing Hand stitching over anything machine sewn.


Hand stitching is the most durable and eye-catching stitching for leather products. Saddle-stitching is what leathercrafters usually do when they sew by hand. It's a traditional way of sewing leather goods and it's the most durable.


Saddle-stitched goods will last decades without unraveling or fraying. 


With this technique, the crafter uses two blunt needles both attached to a single thread. 


While stitching, the two needles pass through the same hole to create a secure binding. If the thread gets snagged or cut, it will not unravel (unlike machine stitching).


You would have to pick the stitches apart one by one to pull the wallet apart, which is a difficult process. 


With machine stitching, one needle hooks another thread at the bottom of the machine. This needle creates a lockstitch and moves forward to create a bunch of loops. When one loop unravels, so do the rest.


Our trifold wallets, like our other products, are sewn by hand using the saddle stitch method. 


To make our stitches strong and pleasing to the eye, we use Ritza 25 Tiger thread. This thread is the best hand-sewing thread in the world: it’s a flat, waxed, polyester, and braided.

Edges and Custom Details

Look at the edges of the trifold wallet. Are they burnished or unfinished?


Burnishing is the process of sanding and polishing leather edges to a smooth finish. It can be quite time-consuming, but the results are worth the effort. Burnishing is a display of attention to detail.


Also, look for someone who can add a touch of personalization.


We love to laser-engrave custom details such as initials, names, and dates on our wallets. Trifold wallets can be an amazing present during Father's Day, Christmas, and birthdays. A special message can remind a loved one every time they pull their wallet out.


If you want to mark a special occasion or gift a loved one, these little details make all the difference.

Burnishing edges of a Black Trifold Wallet

Now you're armed with the right information to buy the perfect trifold wallet.

 

In summary, here are the features to look for: 

Full-Grain or Top-Grain Leather: The wallet should be made from full or top grain leather for durability and aesthetic appeal.

Capacity: The trifold wallet should have dimensions that meet your everyday carrying requirements. It should fit more than 5 cards, an ID or driver's license, cash bills, and other knickknacks. Yet, it should be compact enough to fit into your back or front pocket. 

Saddle-stitched: A high-quality wallet uses saddle hand stitching that doesn’t unravel and looks neat and classy.

What's the difference between a bifold and trifold wallet?

When it comes right down to it: Trifold wallets have three sections and two folds. Bifold wallets have two sections and one fold.


Trifold wallets are thicker than bifolds when folded up. But, depending on the Trifold design, it's possible to take up less space in a pocket due to carrying capacity.


This means bifold wallets will be slimmer (but carry less).


It all boils down to preference: do you want something slim and less noticeable in your pocket? Or do you want to carry everything plus the kitchen sink?

What is the best trifold wallet?

The answer is any trifold wallet made with quality materials and built with pride. 


And there are many small businesses to choose from. At the end of the day, you have to pick what's right for you. 


So consider the following as part of your research:


Do you value goods made with traditional methods (such as hand-stitching)? Or are you fine if it's machine-sewn?


Do you lean toward minimalism and functionality? Or do you like flourish and flair? Branding or no branding on your wallet?


Further, do you want to support the brand? Is it a big faceless corporation that imports its wallets from overseas? Or is your wallet made in a small workshop by people who love what they do?


What I outline in this article is only one piece of the puzzle. 


What's important to you is what informs your decision.  

Article by Ryan Popoff


Ryan Popoff is the CEO and Co-Founder of Popov Leather. He has absolutely no business background, in fact, he graduated in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. Ryan's leather goods business was born from a hobby at the dining room table and a passion for technology (ecommerce in particular). Ryan calls Nelson BC his home where he's raising his family and enjoys spending the odd afternoon at a local craft brewery.


Ryan Popoff

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